EMPORIUM (EC) — A man found guilty by a jury last September of several crimes against a child was sentenced Tuesday in the Cameron County Court of Common Pleas.
Arthur A. Helzel, 37, formerly of Emporium, was ordered to serve 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison, and with credit for time served while awaiting trial and sentencing since his arrest in April of 2013. Helzel must serve a little more than nine-and-one-half years prior to being reviewed for release. He is not eligible for early release considerations or boot camp.
The jury determined he was guilty of felony rape of a child, indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and corruption of minors.
The incident occurred between May of 2007 and September of 2008 at Helzel’s former residence on Route 120 in Shippen Township when the victim was 10- or 11-years-old.
Helzel had no prior criminal record, and though the behavior seemed to be an aberration, “I cannot overlook the significant impact you’ve had on the life of the victim — your niece,” said Judge Richard Masson, who presided over the trial and sentencing hearing. “The community must be protected from this type of action … and I have determined that you are a danger to society.”
Helzel was not found to be a sexually violent predator when assessed by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, but will still have to be fingerprinted, photographed four times per year and register with state police wherever he lives following his release. Helzel will remain on the Megan’s Law list for the rest of his life.
The family of Helzel’s victim, who is now 18-years-old and readying to graduate from high school, seemed relieved that she would be able to start her adult life without worrying about seeing him. The victim’s father gave a statement, and the victim coordinator of Allegany County, N.Y., read a statement written by the victim.
The young lady chose not to attend the hearing because she did not want to see Helzel. The statement referred to her wait of nearly four years for closure in this matter and the emotional toll the incident has taken on her.
Also referenced were additional charges pending in New York state against Helzel for further incidents involving the same victim. Newly-appointed Public Defender Tabia Cole argued that those charges should not be considered as Helzel has yet to be convicted of anything. Masson took the information and the lack of any criminal history into account, as the maximum sentence for Helzel’s crime is 40 years.
Helzel was represented by Cole for sentencing, and the Commonwealth was represented by Deputy Attorney General George Zaiser. Newly-elected District Attorney Jeanne Miglicio represented Helzel for a portion of criminal proceedings in this case as an appointed public defender prior to her election to her current position.
Masson determined that for the sake of sentencing, the indecent assault charge merges with the rape charge, but the corruption of minors stands alone. Helzel received a sentence of nine months to five years for the corruption charge, with the term to run concurrent to the 25-year sentence. He will be maintained on parole following his release.
A condition of Helzel’s sentence is for him to have no direct or indirect contact with his victim. Two individuals came forward to speak in Helzel’s defense, his mother and an Emporium resident.
Helzel was sentenced to serve out his time in the state prison system, beginning at the State Diagnostic and Classification Center in Pittsburgh.